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Lucky Seven Interview with Lynda Monahan: On the Fox, Hospitals and Macintosh Toffee

VergeIn a recently published Lucky Seven Interview, Open Book Toronto Chats with Lynda Monahan about her new poetry collection, Verge, which will be published by Guernica Editions in Spring 2015.

Monahan talks about the thematic concerns that she tackles in the collection, and explains her writing process and methods of coping with difficult points in her projects.

She explains that the fox, which reappears throughout the poems, is symbolic of a woman at a crossroads who learns to move past her struggles and into “life, the future and self-acceptance”.

“The fox represents a woman at a turning point in her life, she is on the verge of some understanding, some thing she is meant to know .The fox travels with her as she moves through various changes and losses in her life. The river holds the past and in the end, the small fox and the woman, one and the same, find their way across and come to a place of acceptance and peace.”

Through the fox’s journey across the river, Monahan tackles two questions: “How do you let go and forgive the past? How do you find a way to move on?”

When asked about her writing process, Monahan stresses her preference for working in a silent and peaceful setting, though asserts that she does work wherever she needs to:

“Mostly I need silence. I have a cabin at Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park in northern Saskatchewan where I go to write, especially in the spring and fall. Also the poetry group I belong to goes on retreat weekends where I can squirrel myself away and write. I find it difficult to write at home, too many distractions, though I can if I put my mind to it. I am writer in residence at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert and sometimes, on my coffee break, I scribble in a corner of the hospital cafeteria.”

Her go to writing food consists of “black coffee and MacIntoch toffee”.

When feeling discouraged, Monahan stresses the importance that a support network holds for her as a writer:

“I meet with my writer friends. They are always so encouraging. I love belonging to a poetry group. We celebrate and we commiserate together. We keep each other going.”

Lynda Monahan is currently a facilitator of a Writing For Your Life group associated with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She has this to say about the writing of patients she works with:

“Their writing is brave and unpretentious and real. They are true survivors. This experience has been informing my writing of late.”

A resident of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Lynda Monahan is the author of two collections of poetry: A Slow Dance in the Flames and What My Body Knows. She will be launching her new collection, Verge, with Guernica Editions in Spring 2015. Monahan facilitates a number of creative writing workshops and has been writer-in-residence at St. Peter’s College facilitated retreat and at Balfour Collegiate in Regina. She is writer-in-residence at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

To read the full Lucky Seven Interview with Lynda Monahan, visit the Open Book Toronto website:

Verge is available on the Guernica Editions website:

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